Special issue on Humanitarianism in Refugee Camps

Are Knudsen and Maja Janmyr (2016)
Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Volume 7, Number 3, Winter 2016

Affiliate at the Centre on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher at CMI, Are Knudsen, is together with Maja Janmyr, Steering Committee Member at the Centre and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, the editor of a special issue on Humanitarianism in Refugee Camps in the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development.

In the introduction Hybrid Spaces they mention the proliferation of refugee camps in recent decades, which today are one of the most poignant manifestations of humanitarian space. The dossier furthers the emerging critique of the “humanitarian management” of refugees, arguing that the process of encampment offers a vantage point to study the institutionalization of humanitarian governance. To this end, the collection of articles theorizes camps as hybrid spaces of humanitarianism. The practice of encampment thus gives rise to hybrid forms of governance, plural camp trajectories and individual migrant careers.

The special issue includes an article written by Maja Janmyr titled Spaces of Legal Ambiguity: Refugee Camps and Humanitarian Power, in which she suggests that discussing legality and legitimacy of refugee camps is key to understand what these spaces are. She argues that the presence of humanitarian organizations may wrongfully legitimize the arbitrary detention of refugees.

Are Knudsen has also published an article in this issue, titled Camp, Ghetto, Zinco, Slum: Lebanon’s Transitional Zones of Emplacement. The article addresses the long-term encampment of Palestinian refugees, where Knudsen theorizes the transformation where traditional forms of refuge have changed to become transitional zones of emplacement. He furthermore analyzes the urbanization and subsequent dissolution of the country’s transient refuges.

To read the complete issue click here.